A Podcast Fan's Take on the New Wolfpop Shows

Wolfpop We’re less than a week into the life of a brand new podcasting network, and not enough people are talking about it. Yes, I listen to too many podcasts, so it is possible that I’m more excited about this than the common man, but that doesn’t excuse said commoner from ignoring a great lineup of new shows!

Wolfpop was launched as a sister company to podcasting heavyweight Earwolf. Did you find the connection? They both have wolf in the title! Use that information to impress your friends. The programming lineup of Wolfpop includes a few Earwolf shows (U Talkin’ U2 To Me? and How Did This Get Made?), a handful of podcasts that have previously aired on other networks, and a whole mess of new stuff.

I understand that you, dearest reader, are very busy and don’t have time to listen to all of these podcasts. You’ve gotta hang out at red carpet events and have dinner parties under chandeliers, I get it. As a favor to you, I’ve listened to one episode of each of the thirteen new podcasts so that you can pick and choose what to listen to based on more than a title and a graphic. I’ve also divided them into the following groups:

“You should definitely check these out”

  • My favorites. I’ll continue to check out each of these shows on a weekly basis.

“Only if you love the guest/subject matter”

  • These are ok, but not worth the listen unless you really like the special guest or topic of the week.

“No thanks/not yet”

  • Least favorites. That’s not to say that they’ll always be subpar, but as is I wouldn’t recommend them.

You Should Definitely Check These Out

Reading AloudReading Aloud (Ep. 1­ Brian Stack/Aimee Mann/Steven Weber) ● Premise—Nate Corddry hosts a celebration of the written word. ● My Take—The story Brian Stack reads at the beginning (A short by Simon Rich) is one of the best things that I’ve heard in a long time. Also, they’re adding in a book club element so that listeners are inspired to read, which has a ton of promise.

Happy Sad Confused (Ep. 21­ Woody Allen) ● Premise—Celebrity interview show hosted by Josh Horowitz. ● My Take­—There are so many shows of this type, but this one is worth checking out because Horowitz is really good at what he does. He came up with one of my favorite questions ever when he asked Woody Allen “is there anything you pray for now?”

Get Up On This (Ep. 162­ Ali Segel) ● Premise—Take instruction from Jensen Karp and Matt Robinson as to what you should be doing! ● My Take—I’ve been a fan of Karp’s for a while and need a better understanding of current pop culture, so I will check this one out weekly. This one has a huge leg up on most of the competition as they’ve already recorded more than 160 episodes.

I Was There Too (Ep. 1­ Paul F. Tompkins) ● Premise—Matt Gourley talks to an extra or throwaway character from famous movies. ● My Take—There should probably be a separate category for podcast episodes that guest star Paul F. Tompkins, as they are invariably a delight. With that said, I’ll continue to check out this show even when non­PFT guests appear because Gourley makes some fantastic choices, and the show’s take on the interview genre is refreshing.

Crybabies (Ep. 1­ Christopher Guest) ● Premise—A discussion of all the things that make us cry, led by Sarah Thyre and Susan Orlean. ● My Take—I repress my feelings about most of life, so I’m not the target audience for this one. With that said, there are a lot of people that would absolutely love this podcast; it’s very well done. Everyone should at least give the Christopher Guest episode a listen to hear hear exactly why he doesn’t do many interviews. Guest is one of my favorite entertainers of all time, but you can just hear in his voice just how much he’s over this whole thing.

“I have cried, yes. I won’t be crying today.” “Is there anything that makes you cry? Like movies, music...” “I tear up at the appropriate times, for me. Everyone probably cries for different reasons, I’m guessing. I’m not a doctor.”

Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period (Ep. 1­ ) ● Premise—W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery discuss the works of Denzel Washington and whatever else they want. ● My Take—This one has the most potential to be great, except they spend too much time on Denzel Washington. That may sound ridiculous, but if you listen to U Talkin’ U2 To Me, you’ll see that it can be incredibly enjoyable to listen to two friends that share something in common talk about whatever they want. Their hyper focus on Washington keeps them from following the fun in the first episode, but I’m confident that they can get there.

Only If You Love The Guest/Subject Matter

Rotton TomatoesRotten Tomatoes Podcast (Ep. 72­ Holiday Movie Season) ● Premise—The crew behind movie rating site Rotten Tomatoes talks out loud instead of just writing down words. ● My Take—Very informative podcast that discussed the holiday movie season. The hosts were relatively patient, which led to very little talking over each other. This is one of the more seasoned podcasts and it shows. They also seem to release a few episodes per week, which gives you quite a few to choose from.

Off Camera (Ep. 12­ Will Forte) ● Premise—Sam Jones conducts a long-form interview with a famous person. ● My Take—I could listen to Will Forte speak forever, but the show has promise beyond that as Jones is an interviewer that gives subjects plenty of time to talk and follows what they want to discuss. The quality of this one is going to be guest dependent, but if you see someone you like, check it out!

OMFG (Ep. 1­ Brandon Wardell/Morgan Walsh) ● Premise—Deanna Raphael and Emily Foster learn about what the youth of today are up to. ● My Take—The structure for the first episode was a bit clunky as they did 30 minutes with Wardell and then 30 minutes with Walsh, instead of having them cross talk, but this one was good for a pilot. I worry that it might get repetitive, but I’ll definitely continue to check it out. It rates lower because I really didn’t like anything that Wardell was saying. He just came off unrelatable.

The Canon (Ep. 1­ Goodfellas) ● Premise—Movie experts Devin Faraci and Amy Nicholson debate whether or not certain films belong in the canon of all time greats. ● My Take—The first episode was a nice listen, but it was partially because the two hosts completely disagreed on how good the film is, and I very recently watched Goodfellas. I wonder if it’ll be as good when they put up a movie on which they agree.

Maltin on Movies (Ep. 1­ Biopics) ● Premise—Frequent Doug Loves Movies guest Leonard Maltin is joined by Baron Vaughn to discuss a category of film and what they would/wouldn’t recommend. ● My Take—This is incredibly informative but doesn’t have much in the way of entertainment. Also, because most of the episode is focused on movies that have come out somewhat recently that I was already familiar with, the information wasn’t very interesting. With that said, I am putting this one on hold because the segment where Maltin and Vaughn broke down the failures of J. Edgar was great.

No Thanks/Not Yet

Picking FavoritesPicking Favorites (Ep. 1­ No Guest) ● Premise—Zachary Levi, David Coleman, and Tyler Labine of The Nerd Machine talk about their favorite things. ●My Take—Just an unorganized clusterfuck that I couldn’t get through. The Nerd Machine is behind this, so it’s definitely got promise, but not until they figure out how to not talk over each other.

Sylvester Stallone Podcast (All episodes) ● Premise—Paul Scheer asks questions of movie star Sylvester Stallone. ● My Take—Stallone has yet to show up.

Remember, this is just a starting point, and you should check them all out to form your own opinions. What do you think of the new Wolfpop network?

(Images: Wolfpop)